Bridging the Opportunity Divide

Make Music, Change Lives

May 9, 2018
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Make Music, Change Lives
Sean Ryon
Building Beats teaches students to develop their passions and leadership skills through digital music production.

Since 2013, New York-based Building Beats has been cultivating the next generation of passionate leaders though digital music production. Founded by DJ and music enthusiast Phi Pham, the nonprofit introduces low-income students in grades 3 and up to digital music production using free cloud-based software.

The goal of Building Beats is two-fold. On one hand, it aims to fill the music education gap that affects many New York City schools. At the same time, the class doesn’t just teach young people hip-hop in a vacuum; Pham sees these workshops as an opportunity to inspire in students universal skills like problem-solving and collaboration.

“We want to empower young people with the technology they have available around them,” Pham says. “The 21st century is all about remixing different tools, different products together, and we think music is a good starting point to teach students those fundamentals.”

In the five years since it began, Building Beats has partnered with over 50 schools in the New York area to serve upward of 3,000 students. Watch the video above to see some of Building Beats’ young producers at work.

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